Why is it that banking corporations seem to get just about everything they want from Washington (government bailouts, purchases of toxic assets by the Federal Reserve, pathetic regulations, avoidance of jail time for CEOs who caused the 2008 economic implosion)?
Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the political campaign “contributions” (more like investments) handed out to federal elected officials. The FIRE (Finance, Insurance & Real Estate) sector is #1 in the current election cycle…by a lot.
POLITICAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS BY SECTOR
Sector / Total $ / % to Democrats / % to Republicans
1. Finance/Insur/RealEst / $65,263,847 / 36.3% / 55.7%
2. Other / $39,860,271 / 51.8% / 35.5%
3. Misc Business / $35,912,227 / 39.0% / 53.0%
4. Ideology, Single-Issue / $35,404,409 / 45.9% / 41.9%
5. Lawyers & Lobbyists / $25,655,939 / 65.9% / 31.5%
6. Health / $24,538,283 / 41.8% / 53.4%
7. Labor / $22,495,845 / 52.8% / 7.7%
8. Communications, Electronics / $18,279,820 / 55.7% / 36.7%
9. Energy, Nat Resource / $16,434,322 / 21.9% / 74.9%
10. Agribusiness / $11,630,301 / 26.9% / 69.3%
11. Construction / $11,549,743 / 25.5% / 61.9%
12. Transportation / $10,398,240 / 28.7% / 68.7%
13. Defense / $6,440,517 / 39.0% / 60.5%
Source: 2013-14 Election Cycle, opensecrets.org
Letter to the Editor
Akron Beacon Journal / November 20, 2013
The announced layoffs at Lockheed Martin are tragic for the workers and their families, as well as economically harmful to the city. The action, however, shouldn’t be surprising as our nation winds down from two wars and grapples with an unbalanced federal budget.
Rather than blame one group or another for Lockheed’s decision, time would be better spent by all stakeholders involved (especially workers and federal and local officials) investigating the feasibility of implementing the “Framework for Defense Transition Assistance” proposed earlier this year by the Institute for Policy Studies.
The document offers several practical recommendations for economic conversion to assist workers, communities and military industries. Among them are:
• Strengthen existing federal assistance for community planning, technical assistance, job retraining and finance to communities facing military plant closures. Specifically, increase planning and technical assistance grants from the Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment to communities dealing with private sector military job loss, not just base closings.
• Expand funding for the Commerce Department’s Regional Innovation Center as well as Energy and Treasury Department programs designed to spur regional economic growth via the development of clean energy and sustainable transportation technologies. Re-fund the Labor Department’s job training programs addressing green jobs and adjustment for dislocated military workers.
• Restore several effective post-Cold War military downsizing programs focused on developing civilian uses for existing military technology.
• Initiate new programs responding to current conditions. This includes a National Network for Manufacturing that would earmark funds for environmentally sustainable clean energy, lightweight materials and efficient appliances, lights, computers and transportation, while also increasing the role for communities and workers in creating and sharing the gains of the innovations. Expand the current GI Bill to expand benefits for vocational training. Pass the Veteran Employment Assistance Act to help veteran-owned small businesses.
Some of these proposals would directly help Lockheed workers and Akron right now. Others are more long-term opportunities to transfer from what has been acknowledged or not as a national military industrial policy to a civilian one geared to sustainable and sensible energy, transportation and other sectors. The time for this is long overdue.
Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee
Description of work in preventing the privatization/corporatization of Akron’s water/sewer system is featured in the latest issue of Sojourners
The Great American Water Crisis
Why it’s perfectly legitimate for citizens to advocate for city council resolutions (as well as organize citizen initiative campaigns) to address national issues. Let’s keep those council resolutions and citizen initiatives calling for an end to corporate personhood and money as speech coming!
“City councilors and members of boards of supervisors take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states. The same is established in the Jefferson Manual, the rulebook for the House originally written by Thomas Jefferson for the Senate. In 1967, a court in California ruled (Farley v. Healey, 67 Cal.2d 325) that ‘one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known.’
All Drone Politics Is Local
Cake decoration at last night’s film showing and discussion (60 people attended) on taking back public/democratic control of our money system, featuring filmmaker and author Bill Still.
Still shared a disturbing story about one more type of influence of the financial industry over public policy. In Israel, the banks finance the workings of political parties — not simply make political campaign contributions, but provide funds to permit the actual parties to function internally.
Given such dependence, how harsh do you think the parties will be legislatively on the banks? So much for public officials representing the public.
WCBE, Central Ohio NPR
November 7, 2013
Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service-OH
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(11/07/13) COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two Ohio communities are taking a stand against corporate political contributions.
Both Cleveland Heights and Defiance voters passed local ordinances on Tuesday informing their elected leaders that they want a U.S. Constitutional Amendment to curb corporate power, and ending the practice of political contributions being the equivalent of free speech.
Greg Coleridge, director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), says there is a huge disconnect between what people feel is needed and the public policies being enacted.
“That disconnect has to do with those we elect to public service being more responsive to the interests of wealthy political individual contributors, as well as major corporations,” he says.
The measure passed with about 77 percent of the vote in Cleveland Heights and 67 percent in Defiance. Both were the result of earlier petition campaigns organized by the national Move to Amend coalition.
It is working to reverse Citizens United, the U.S. Supreme Court decision giving corporations the right to make unlimited political contributions.
Coleridge says this issue has hit close to home for many Ohioans, with the influx of out-of-state gas and oil drillers that he says have trumped local laws protecting residents and the environment.
“We have a democracy problem of major proportions that have to do with these inalienable rights to corrupt and pervert public policy,” he says. “And the oil and gas fracking issue is just one many, many examples.”
More than 500 communities nationwide have enacted either resolutions or ballot initiatives with similar language, including ballot measures in Brecksville and Newburgh Heights, Ohio, last year.